Your JCI Archives
I was recently involved in connecting our retiree Arn Quakkelaar to the JCI Historian/Archivist Kenneth Wirth Associate Director, Global Records Management and Archives, about some very old thermostats that Arn had on plaques in his JCI office. He wanted them to find a good home rather than maybe being discarded later by someone not knowing their history. Arn wrote an article about these that will appear either in this newsletter of a later one.
This leads me to suggest that you may know about any similar items that could benefit from a similar path. Either you may have them yourself, or know of them in a fellow JCI retiree’s possession (who may not get to read this). The item may mean something to you, but will it to your kids or grandkids if they have to sort through boxes of “stuff”? I’ve been down that path with my parent’s treasures/trash and would have appreciated the guidance, or a prior donation to a more appreciative recipient.
For example: This is a pre-1900 Johnson electric thermostat that I took off the wall of a house built by Milwaukee’s Mayor Hoan (the guy the Bridge is named after). I saved it from the trash when my MSOE – Triangle fraternity remodeled the house for its use, decades ago. The house was not too far down Kilbourn
from where Warren Johnson lived around that time. So could our founder actually have had his hands on the Mayor’s thermostat? Also the wooden backing has various paint marks from prior room colors. Since my Great Grandfather was a painting contractor, the local Alderman, and a good political friend of Mayor Hoan, (they made a joint trip to Germany in Feb 1929 to christen a ship named Milwaukee), could he also have had his hands on this thermostat? Obviously, we can’t ask any of them now, so this is just hypothetical musing. Since I have a few other connections to this particular item, I’m not sure it’s ready for donation just yet. But now that I have taken the time to write a brief story about this thermostat, I think I’ll tape a copy to its back as possible guidance for whomever is deciding on its next transition.
So if you know of any materials that may be of value to JCI’s history, Johnson has an official keeper of these Archives in Kenneth Wirth. If you are not ready to part with them just yet, maybe you can put a copy of this article in the box with them your heirs may appreciate the suggestion.